Way back when, Tufty the squirrel was my road safety guru. As a committed member of the Tufty Club I learnt to stop look and listen each time I crossed the road, harrowing memories of Willy the Weasel and the ice cream van incident will always stay with me. Anyone who says shock tactics for the young don’t work, I beg to differ. This was then replaced by the Green Cross Code man passive advertising at it’s best I’d say.
My quandary is, what is there nowadays to teach these important life skill to kids? With so many channels on the TV it’s hard to make sure the same collective messages are being drummed in. So it’s down us responsible adults to ensure that the kids are alright. At the tender age of 2 and ever since my boy has been rein free. (Don’t judge me, they were an absolute god send for my flighty toddler who was prone to taking a tumble when out and about only to be saved from serious knee scrapes by a swift fly back on the harness.) I’ve been getting him to stop look and listen out for cars each time we stop to cross. I admit that my quiet little village is a safe haven to practice these skills as you’re more in danger of being taken out by a cat than a speeding car but the message is getting through very slowly.
And I mean slowly, putting it into practice really helps but living in a digital age so does coming down to his interactive level by looking at online games where you can sit to gather and work though scenarios to give kids the tools to think for them selves when it comes to road safety. Or searching out tv programmes on YouTube. While the hard-hitting Think campaign might be a little too full on for kids, with some even being banned until after the 9pm watershed there are gentler options which are age appropriate.
The ultimate thing, though, is to talk about the traffic when you’re out, to constantly practice looking out for cars, listening and making sure they walk and hold you hand. Most importantly, repetition is boss. Each time you come to a road crossing, ask them what you should be doing to make sure they understand and then offer bundles of praise for getting it right. Finally, role play crossing the road with toys at home. Those 10 little minutes of your undivided attention will capture their minds and their emotions. It’s a key message that can never been over used.
So there you go, I hope this helps and do pop any extra advice in the comments.
This is a collaborative post.